Thank you so much for inviting me here today to share an exclusive excerpt from my brand new modern fairytale, GINGER’S HEART, inspired by “Little Red Riding Hood.” Here’s what you need to know: the following excerpt takes place on Ginger’s 12th birthday. The boys she refers to—Cain and Woodman—are cousins with whom Ginger has grown up. They are both 15-years-old, wildly handsome and as different as they can be. Do you feel a love triangle forming? I sure do!!
Exclusive Excerpt from GINGER’S HEART by Katy Regnery
(Used with permission. All rights reserved.)
“Gran!” shouted Ginger, quickening her pace. She’d barely seen her grandmother—her father’s mother—all day, and after Woodman, Gran was her very closest friend.
Kelleyanne McHuid had moved into the in-law cottage after Ginger’s parents were married, way before Ginger was born, which meant that she’d been a permament fixture at McHuid’s throughout Ginger’s childhood. Though, she wrinkled her nose with worry, she didn’t know for how much longer. Recently, Ginger had heard her mother and father discussing Gran in hushed tones behind closed doors. Gran suffered from Parkinson’s, and Ginger’s mother seemed to feel that she needed “more care” than they could provide at home, while Ginger’s father refused to discuss putting his mother into a “damned home” yet. It worried Ginger near constantly to think of losing her Gran to the nursing home in town.
“Here’s the birthday girl!” said Gran, patting the seat cushion beside her with a trembling hand. Gran’s whole body trembled lately. More and more every day. Her eyes lowered to the bracelet around Ginger’s wrist and she grinned. “Whatcha got there, dollbaby?”
“Gift from Woodman,” said Ginger, feeling her cheeks flush.
“Awful pretty,” said Gran, reaching for the bracelet, her shaking fingers making it jingle as she looked at each one of the charms. “And awful thoughtful. Josiah’s a good boy.”
Just about everyone called Woodman “Woodman” except Gran and sometimes Cain. Gran insisted on calling him by his Christian name. Cain used “Josiah” and “Woodman” interchangeably with no real rhyme or reason that Ginger could follow.
“Rumor is you’re gonna marry him someday,” said Kellyanne to her granddaughter, her sixty-something blue eyes merry. “But what do you say?”
Ginger giggled self-consciously, thinking about her grandmother’s question, something clenching in her twelve-year-old heart as she thought about marrying sensible Woodman and abandoning her wild feelings for Cain.
“I don’t know,” she said, feeling her forehead crease in confusion.
“Or maybe you’re thinkin’ you want to marry…Cain,” said Gran softly.
Cain, with his jet black hair and ice blue eyes, appeared like a vision before her, and Ginger’s heart thumped faster. The way he’d run off to see Mary-Louise Walker this afternoon made her brown eyes spitting green with jealousy. The way he swaggered made her breath catch. Woodman was so predictable, so safe in comparison.
Then again, Woodman hadn’t exactly been predictable this afternoon, had he? He’d surprised her with the gift and even more with his words. His body had been hard and warm when he’d held her, the embrace awakening something new and foreign within her. Something she wasn’t sure she wanted. Something that didn’t feel safe and even scared her a little bit. She pulled her fingers away from the charm bracelet and faced her Gran.
“What do I do if I love them both?”
Her grandmother’s eyes, which had been mostly teasing, flinched, and her mouth tilted down in a sympathetic frown, which made her face seem so serious and sober.
“Choose, dollbaby,” said her Gran. “Someday you’ll have to choose.”
The same feeling that she’d had in the barn, when Cain had yelled, “Jump to the one you love the most, darlin’!” flared up within her—a fierce refusal to love one cousin more than the other, to give up one in lieu of the other.
Choose? Her memories skated back through a dozen years on McHuid’s Farm that had always included Cain and Woodman. When they were little children, they played together, swimming buck naked in the creek and racing over the green hills and pastures in impromptu games of tag. As the boys grew up, they started working with Cain’s daddy, Klaus, who was her father’s right-hand man, mucking out the stables and grooming the horses. She’d run down to the barn every day after her lessons to see them, working right along beside them until they were all covered in hay, dust and barn grime.
Though the Wolframs weren’t generally included in the McHuid’s active social life, the Woodmans were, which meant that in addition to seeing Cain and Woodman on the farm, she also saw Woodman at every holiday and birthday party…and they always managed to slip out unseen with some smuggled sweets for Cain.
They were the Three Musketeers of McHuid’s Farm and Ginger knew both boys as well as she knew herself—Cain’s smirking, hot-headed, impulsive ways, and Woodman’s level-headed patience, caution and kindness. Regardless of their differences, she also knew that as the only children of twin sisters, Cain and Woodman were much closer than most cousins. Genetically speaking, they were half-brothers, and while they surely liked to tease and torture each other, they wouldn’t hesitate to jump into front of a train to save the other’s skin either.
In Ginger’s mind, she envisioned them like two halves of the same coin that she held carefully in the palm of her hand.
She loved them both desperately.
No, her heart protested. Impossible.
“What if I can’t?” she whispered, leaning back and resting her head on her grandmother’s comforting shoulder.
“Then you’ll lose them both,” said her grandmother softly.
Ginger’s shoulders fell, relaxing in surrender as she closed her eyes against the burn of tears.
“But don’t let’s think about that now, dollbaby,” said Gran, leaning her head upon her granddaughter’s, the constant tremble of her unpredictable body almost soothing to Ginger as they rocked side by side in the twilight. “You’re just twelve today. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”
About GINGER’S HEART
Once upon a time there were two cousins:
one golden like the sun,
one dark like midnight,
one a protector,
one a predator,
one a Woodsman
one a Wolf…
both owning equal,
parts of a little girl’s heart.
In this modern retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” the woodsman and the wolf are cousins, and Little Red is the girl with whom they both fall in love.
Beautiful Ginger McHuid, daughter of Kentucky’s premiere horse breeder, grows up on her family farm, best friends with Cain Wolfram, the son of her father’s Stallion Manager, and Cain’s cousin, Josiah Woodman, son of a local banker. Throughout their happy childhood, the three are inseparable friends, but as they mature into adults, complicated feelings threaten to destroy their long history of friendship and love.
This is a standalone novel inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. Contemporary Romance: Due to profanity and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Buy GINGER’S HEART: Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR
About Katy Regnery
Katy Regnery, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author, started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract for a winter romance entitled By Proxy.
Now exclusively self-published, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled Blueberry Lane Series which follows the English, Winslow, Rousseau, Story and Ambler families of Philadelphia, the four-book, bestselling a modern fairytale series, the standalone novel, Playing for Love at Deep Haven and a standalone novella, Frosted.
Katy’s first modern fairytale romance, The Vixen and the Vet, was nominated for a RITA® in 2015, and four of her books: The Vixen and the Vet (a modern fairytale), Never Let You Go (a modern fairytale), Falling for Fitz (The English Brothers #2) and By Proxy (Heart of Montana #1) have been #1 genre bestsellers on Amazon.